LOCATION: Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
SIZE: 85,000 sq. m
DATE: 2007 – 2009
The Yas hotel, a 500-room, 85,000-square-meter structure made up of two twelve story hotel towers linked together by a monocoque steel and glass bridge A Grid Shell structure that both cross above and over the Yas Marina Circuit F1 race track. It is the first new hotel in the world to be built over an F1 race circuit. The hotel’s exterior surface is designed as an environmentally responsive skin that by day reflects the sky and surroundings and by night is lit by a full color changing LED lighting system that incorporate video feeds that are transmitted over the entire surface of the building.
Asymptote created and conceived of the building as an architectural landmark embodying key influences and local and global inspirations ranging from the aesthetics and forms associated with speed and spectacle to the artistry and geometries that form the basis of ancient Islamic art and craft traditions. Of architectural and engineering significance is the main feature of the hotelʼs design; a 217-meter expanse of sweeping, curvilinear glass and steel covering that is made up of 5,800 pivoting diamond-shaped glass panels. This Grid-Shell component is a key aspect of the overall architectural design and significance of the project by producing an atmospheric-like veil visible from miles away.
The two hotel towers, one being set within the race circuit, and another placed in the Marina itself, are physically linked by a sculpted steel monocoque bridge construction that passes above the Formula 1 track. The bridge along with the Grid-Shell visually connect and fuse the entire Yas Hotel complex. The Yas Hotel was designed by Asymptote to become a significant and important landmark for Abu Dhabi. The pixelated lighting design by Asymptote in collaboration with Arup Lighting creates a dynamic appearance at night, with colours flowing smoothly across the double curved surface. says in a press release…
“The hotel embodies various key influences and inspirations ranging from the aesthetics and forms associated with speed, movement and spectacle to the artistry and geometries forming the basis of ancient Islamic art and craft traditions, a perfect union and harmonious interplay between elegance and spectacle. The search here was inspired by what one could call the ‘art’ and poetics of motor racing, specifically Formula 1, coupled with the making of a place that celebrates Abu Dhabi as a cultural and technological tour de force.”
Photos by Bjorn Moerman
CLIENT: Aldar Properties PJSC
PROJECT DIRECTORS: Mick McConnell, Andrew Drummond
PROJECT MANAGERS: Theo Sarantoglou Lalis, Constantin Doehler, Matthew Utley
PROJECT TEAM: Danny Abalos, Keehyun Ahn, Sebastian Andia, Bernardo Crespo, Greg Derrico, Reed Finlay, , William Garcia, Armand Graham, Moritz Greiling, Justine Groves, John Guida, Kurt Hanzlik, Robert Hendrick, Tyson Hosmer, Robert Ivanov, Jeremiah Joseph, Feby Kuriakose, David Lessard, Sophie Luger, Brooks McDaniel, Jonathan Podborsek, Klaus Ransmayr, Ben Ritter, Greg Spaw, Ariane Stracke, Linda Stromgren, Kyle Stover,Tae-Hyung Park, Martin Zangerl, Christoph Ziegler
ASSISTANTS: Manca Ahlin, Phuttipan Askawool, Ali Baker, Christoph Boeckeler, Julie Bogdanowicz, Remi Chevrillon, Cluadia Friesz, Hiroe Fujimoto, Daniel Angulo Garcia, Daniel Gillen, Avital Gourary, Richard Heger, Katharina Hieger, Julia Hoins, Ji Young Kim, Siyoung Kim, Jonathan Kleinhample, Adam Koogler, Rolando Lineros, Brendan Maloney, Mirai Morita, Tom Raymont, Friedrich Rohde, Sander Schuur, Greg Spaw, Jeff Walker, Robert Wehinger, Michael Whalen, Ann Wright, Margaret Yoo
COMMERCIAL DIRECTOR: Chris Delusky
LOCAL ARCHITECTS: Dewan Architects & Engineers, Tilke & Partners W.L.L.
STRUCTURAL ENGINEERS: Dewan Architects & Engineers, ARUP
GRIDSHELL ENGINEERS: Schlaich Bergermann und Partner (SBP), Waagner-Biro
GRIDSHELL BIM CONSULTANT: Gehry Technologies
GRIDSHELL LIGHTING CONSULTANT: ARUP Lighting ( Rogier van der Heide, Brian Stacy and Richard Fisher )
FACADE COINSULTANTS: Front Inc., TAW & Partner
LINK BRIDGE ENGINEERS: ARUP Bridge, Centraal Staal
INTERIOR DESIGN CONSULTANTS: Jestico + Whiles, Richardson Sadeki, De8 Architetti
LIGHTING CONSULTANTS: LAPD Lighting Design, Bartenbach LichtLabor GmbH, Red Engineering Middle East, ARUP Lighting
GRIDSHELL WIND ENGINEERS: Wacker-Ingenieure
GRIDSHELL NODE HOUSING CONSULTANT: Billings Jackson Design
MEP ENGINEER: Red Engineering Middle East
LANDSCAPE DESIGN: Cracknell Landscape Architects
AUDIO, VISUAL & IT CONSULTANTS: Cyber-Consult
TRAFFIC CONSULTANT: WSP Middle East Ltd
WATER FEATURE & POOL CONSULTANT: Belhasa Projects, LLC
FIRE SAFETY: Wagner Fire Safety Management Consultants
SIGNAGE & WAYFINDING STRATEGY: GS Fitch
VERTICAL TRANSPORTATION: VDA
SECURITY: Oliver Group
KITCHEN & LAUNDRY: Tricon Foodservice Consultants PLC
FOOD & BEVERAGE: Future Food
The yas hotel, abu dhabi, uae 2007–2009
by asymptote: hani rashid + lise anne couture
image courtesy asymptote architecture
here from Architect Magazine:
Asymptote Architecture • “It’s totally sci-fi,” said Yolande Daniels, summing up the project that had the jury feeling futuristic. The Yas Hotel in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, is at the cutting edge of both form and technology, with a weblike shade structure that cloaks the hotel’s two 10-story elliptical-shaped towers. The 500-room, 900,000-square-foot hotel straddles the Yas Marina Circuit Formula One race track, its two towers knit together by a steel bridge. The team at Asymptote Architecture designed the exterior steel-and-glass latticework, which it calls a gridshell, to mirror and capture the speed, streamlined form, and dynamic energy of Formula One racing. Inside the lobby, the expertly detailed all-white hotel resembles at once an ocean liner and an icy glacial formation.
The seemingly effortless curvilinear geometry comes from extensive laboring over BIM and parametric models, which were used to control both the form and the detailing, resulting in tight tolerances and the design of a universal joint connection. Additionally, they were able to reduce the number of structural members: Only 10 supports hold up the entire gridshell. LED luminaires are integrated into each of the 5,000 fritted glass panels that make up the faceted surface. Asymptote worked with Arup’s lighting team to program the façade so that at night, the geometry transforms into a full-spectrum light show.
The jury touted the combination of spectacle and performance. The gridshell is not only for projecting an idea about high-tech luxury; it also mitigates the demands of the intense desert environment. For instance, the rooftop swimming pool, a program nearly impossible if exposed to the desert elements, tucks easily under the steel-and-glass umbrella. “The thing I like about this project is this idea of dealing with the climate by having a big shade piece that is a universal grid,” explained Bill Valentine.
The Yas Hotel, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Client Aldar Properties PJSC, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Architect Asymptote Architecture, Long Island City, New York—Lise Anne Couture, Hani Rashid (principal architects); Mick McConnell (project director); Andrew Drummond, Theo Sarantoglou Lalis (project managers); Chris Delusky (commercial director); Greg Derrico, Constantin Doehler, Justine Groves, John Guida, Kurt Hanzlik, Robert Hendrick, Robert Ivanov, David Lessard, Brooks McDaniel, Klaus Ransmayr, Matthew Utley, (project architects); Keehyun Ahn, Reed Finlay, William Garcia, Armand Graham, Feby Kuriakose, Jonathan Podborsek, Martin Zangerl, Christoph Ziegler (project designers); Danny Abalos, Manca Ahlin, Sebastian Andia, Phuttipan Askawool, Ali Baker, Michelle Bitner, Christoph Boeckeler, Julie Bogdanowicz, Alex Bulygin, Remi Chevrillon, Bernardo Crespo, Josh Dannenberg, Brian Deluna, Claudia Friess, Hiroe Fujimoto, Daniel Angulo Garcia, Daniel Gillen, Avital Gourary, Moritz Greiling, Richard Heger, Katharina Hieger, Julia Hoins, Tyson Hosmer, Jeremiah Joseph, Kyungsic Kim, Ji Young Kim, Siyoung Kim, Jonathan Kleinhemple, Adam Koogler, Minsoo Lee, Rolando Lineros, Sophie Luger, Joshua Mackley, Brendan Maloney, Francisco Lopez Martinez, Mirai Morita, Tae-Hyung Park, Matthew Post, Tom Raymont, Mariana Renjifo, Isabelle Rijnties, Ben Ritter, Friedrich Rohde, Sander Schuur, Andreas Singer, Nathan Smith, Greg Spaw, Ariane Stracke, Kyle Stover, Tai Verley, Jeff Walker, Robert Wehinger, Michael Whalen, Ann Wright, Margaret Yoo (design team)
Local Architects Dewan Architects & Engineers; Tilke & Partners W.L.L.
Structural Engineers Dewan Architects & Engineers; Arup
M/E/P Engineer Red Engineering Middle East
Façade Consultants Front Inc.; TAW & Partner
Interior Architecture Jestico + Whiles; Richardson Sadeki; De8 Architetti
Lighting Consultants LAPD; Bartenbach LichtLabor; Red Engineering Middle East; Arup Lighting
Gridshell Engineers Schlaich Bergermann und Partner; Waagner-Biro Group
Gridshell BIM Consultant Gehry Technologies
Gridshell Lighting Consultant Arup Lighting
Gridshell Wind Engineers Wacker-Ingenieure
Gridshell Node Housing Consultant Billings Jackson Design
Link Bridge Engineers Arup Bridge; Centraal Staal
Landscape Design Al Khatib Cracknell Landscape Design
A/V & IT Consultant Cyber-Consult
Traffic Consultant WSP Middle East
Water Feature & Pool Consultant Belhasa Projects
Fire Safety Wagner Fire Safety Management Consultants
Signage & Wayfinding Strategy Fitch
Vertical Transportation VDA
Security Olive Group
Kitchen & Laundry Tricon Foodservice Consultants
Food & Beverage Future Foods
Size 900,000 square feet
Photography Bjorn Moerman
A sophisticated LED system brings the excitement of Formula 1 racing to Asymptote’s Yas Hotel
Source: ARCHITECTURAL LIGHTING Magazine
Publication date: March 1, 2010
By Aaron Seward
Since its formation 20 years ago, New York–based architecture practice Asymptote has had a love affair with technology and light. In a number of conceptual projects and installations, co-founders Lise Anne Couture and Hani Rashid have played with these two elements to discover different ways to transform a building’s skin into a living, breathing surface capable of mapping phenomena and projecting emotion. But they had been waiting for a project whose program and budget would allow them to undertake such a technological exploration. A recent commission to design a hotel at the Yas Marina Circuit—a Formula 1 (F1) racetrack on an exclusive island development in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates—offered the perfect opportunity to develop these ideas on a grand scale. “We salivated at the prospect of being able to build something that would have a relationship to the cars, but also a framework based in the atmosphere of the desert and the way the light is by the sea,” Rashid explains.
To harness the energy and excitement of F1 racing, the architects arranged the 499 rooms of the 850,000-square-foot hotel into two towers that straddle the racetrack. A two-story bridge housing a hotel bar connects the towers and provides a perfect perch from which to watch the races. Then Asymptote looked to the ways people in the Middle East traditionally have fended off the heat: tent structures, veils, and kaftans. “These beautiful, poetic forms culminated in a sensual and technologically advanced skin that we could drape over the building, sheltering the rooms from the light and producing some amazing events that would tie back to the race,” Rashid says. Collaborating with a team of lighting designers, engineers, modelers, and fabricators that included Arup Lighting, Schlaich Bergermann, Gehry Technologies, and Waagner-Biro, the architects realized this vision in a fluidly formed 183,000-square-foot grid shell structure of steel and glass. During the day, the shroud hovers protectively above and around the hotel guestroom buildings, creating a stack effect that draws hot air away from the building envelope. At night, the structure becomes a screen set in motion by thousands of custom LED fixtures.
Even with a relatively high budget (construction costs ran to $608 million), Asymptote’s design threatened to break the bank. The fluid form that it originally envisioned for the grid shell required the construction of thousands of uniquely shaped panels. The most economical solution—a pair of domes joined in the middle—would have compromised the design. However, through parametric modeling, the team was able to arrive at a compromise that not only maintained the flowing geometry but organized the 5,800 panels into 180 standard shapes while meeting the budget requirements.
Another feature of the grid shell that needed to be re-evaluated because of its cost was the use of moving parts. “The original idea was that the motion of the cars would trigger movement in the panels, so the skin would seem to shiver and the whole thing would flicker,” Rashid says. Fortunately, a close semblance of this effect occurs without manipulating the panels. Instead, each lozenge-shaped panel of laminated low-E glass is positioned in its frame to produce a varied reflection, so that the light—natural and electric—glimmers across the surface as a viewer’s perspective changes. Asymptote and Arup Lighting were careful to position the panels so as not to shine light into the eyes of the drivers below or into those of pilots passing overhead—a serious concern. A frit pattern in the glass helps to diffuse the light and reduce the glare, keeping the natural lighting comfortable in the hotel rooms while maintaining a shimmering aspect on the hotel’s façade, much like a snake’s skin or the scales of a fish.
The grid shell comes most to life, of course, at night, when 5,800 fixtures with RGBW LEDs, each targeted at a dedicated panel, fire up to transform the structure into a giant animated display. The choice of LEDs seemed an obvious one, but it did present a unique challenge. “Day one was: We’re going to have this media façade; great LEDs!” says Brian Stacy, project director at Arup Lighting. “Day two was: Wait, what did we agree to? A desert is the antithesis of an ideal environment for LEDs.”
To a great extent, the performance of LEDs depends on the ambient temperature of the operating environment, and overdriving them in high temperatures—such as those found along the Persian Gulf—can result in the LEDs failing. Arup Lighting worked with a number of manufacturers to find a way over this hurdle, most of which involved designing custom fixtures with large heat sinks. The most elegant solution used a standard fixture outfitted with remote device management (RDM) DMX control. This system allows bi-directional communication between the fixtures and a central computer, which monitors their temperature and dims the entire display before overheating can occur.
The luminaires are positioned at a distance from the grid shell on posts atop the structural nodes, and they cast their light down onto the glass panels. “Because the panels come in different shapes and sizes, we had to come up with a design solution that provided variable beam adjustments and variable intensities,” Stacy says. “So when you have 100 percent on one panel it looks similar to 100 percent on another panel.” Arup Lighting developed software that adjusts levels to create a consistent look. They also based the frit pattern on an algorithm that varies the density of the ceramic dots to encourage an even diffusion of light across the glass surface. The fixtures are woven throughout the grid, terminating at the shell’s structural nodes in steel globes that contain the electronics for the control system.
Asymptote and Arup Lighting then worked together to come up with a framework for the animated sequences. “We wanted the video feed to create these conceptual effects of breathing and undulating,” Rashid says. “But what it came down to were lighting effects that were suitable to the race.” Indeed, while watching the waves of color race across the surface of the grid shell the first sensation that comes to mind is speed—not just the speed of F1 cars, but also the speed of LED development, which each year extends the possibilities for designers to expand their means of expression.
Project Yas Hotel, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Design Team Asymptote Architecture, New York (lead architect); Arup Lighting, New York (lighting designer); Dewan Architects & Engineers, Abu Dhabi, and Tilke & Partners, Dubai (local architects); Dewan Architects & Engineers, Abu Dhabi, and Arup, New York (structural engineers); Schlaich Bergermann und Partner, Stuttgart, Germany, and Waagner-Biro, Vienna (grid-shell engineers); Front Inc., New York, and Taw & Partner, Hamburg (façade consultants); Gehry Technologies, Los Angeles and New York (grid shell BIM consultant)
Project Size 850,000 square feet (overall); 183,000 square feet (grid shell)
Project Cost $608 million
Manufacturers Cooper Lighting and Safety, e:cue Lighting Controls, Enfis
Not your typical lodging, the Yas Hotel in Abu Dhabi is part of a larger complex, which includes a marina and a Formula 1 racetrack. The building’s signature feature is a 183,000-square-foot grid shell structure of steel and glass that by day shields the hotel from the sun.
And at night it becomes a canvas for animated light displays.
The grid shell is designed so that light does not interfere with the hotel rooms or the racetrack, either by day or by night.
Arup Lighting conducted extensive solar studies so it could precisely position the grid shell panels for maximum solar control.
The grid shell is designed so that light does not interfere with the hotel rooms or the racetrack, either by day or by night.
Asymptote Architects and Arup Lighting devised a frit pattern on the grid shell’s glass panels to diffuse light and reduce glare, and integrated a custom-designed LED fixture atop each structural node.
and more pics: